Saturday 25 November 2017

Hillsborough police told dad: At least your dead son (15) wasn't drinking

A father who had just identified the body of his 15-year-old son at Hillsborough was told by a police sergeant: "One consolation, your son had not been drinking."

Francis Tyrrell told the inquest into the deaths of his son, Kevin, and 95 others that he was "flabbergasted" by the comment.

"There was no consolation that our son hadn't had a drink when he was standing in them pens probably frightened to death and crying for his mother," he added.

"It's no consolation to us that it took us 26 years to try and get justice for him and the other 95."

Mr Tyrrell said he and his wife, Margaret, and his brother, Gerard, initially went to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield to look for their son after he had not returned home from the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

He said the helpful atmosphere at the hospital was in stark contrast to Hillsborough where a temporary mortuary had been set up at the club gymnasium.

He said a man in front of him in the queue to get in had asked police officers: "I have been looking for over three hours for my son. How long is it going to take us?"

"The policeman just said, 'I don't know what you are moaning about three hours, I have been here all day'," Mr Tyrrell said.

Once inside the gym he said he was told to look at various photographs of dead people but said many "looked the same" with no separation of men, women and children.

When he thought he had identified his son he said an officer told him: "It is. We've got his bus ticket with his name and address on."


"I said 'why didn't you tell me?' and he said 'we hadn't time to tell people, we've been too busy'," Mr Tyrrell said.

He said he and his wife identified his son's body but he was told he could not touch his son because "he belongs to us now, he belongs to the coroner".

He said a sergeant then asked him a host of basic questions about his son before the subject of alcohol was raised.

"When he had finished asking all these questions he just turned around and he said, 'one consolation, your son had not been drinking'," he said.

Mr Tyrrell wrote a letter of complaint through his solicitors to South Yorkshire Police in February 1990 about the arrangements at the gymnasium.

He received an apology in which the police acknowledged they had failed to reach the standard "manifestly required by the circumstances".

The hearing continues today.


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